back to article What do you mean, 'Microsoft doesn't care about Windows on Arm'? Here's a cheap, underpowered test rig

Developer hardware for Windows on Arm has finally debuted with a low price matched by an even lower specification. Windows on Arm has yet to set the world on fire, and developers would have been forgiven for wondering if Microsoft was about to tip the poor thing down the basement stairs to the dingy dungeon where the likes of …

  1. aks

    Existing WoA hardware

    A simple and cheaper option is to perform the development work using existing Windows on Arm hardware.

    My first choice would be the Microsoft Lumia 950xl phone which already runs Windows (no longer supported). You could even use the docking station.

    Second hand 950xl hardware is easy to find on eBay. I still use this as my main phone.

    You might find this existing Github project useful. https://woa-project.github.io/LumiaWOA/

    1. AMBxx Silver badge

      Re: Existing WoA hardware

      Now you've started a whole thread for old gits like me who miss their old Windows phones.

      My 950XL and 1020 are fond memories. Until this year, I was using my 520 as a wifi access point. Sadly, where I need to use it only has 4G now, so it's back in the drawer.

  2. andy 103
    FAIL

    Seems like an afterthought

    The reason that Apple's M1 developer kits are decent is because Apple is wholeheartedly behind M1. They fully understand what it is, why the market wants it, and are committed to it. They've communicated this well to the world.

    It seems in this case Microsoft are doing their usual thing of having no real clue of where things are heading. Putting out 1 piece of sub-standard hardware on only their US site shows this. It's not something they believe is "the future". Then again, they never really understood how The Internet would be the future, as demonstrated by their countless failings from Online Services in Windows 95 onwards.

    This story to me isn't really about the hardware, it's about Microsoft's classic half-arsed approach when they're clueless about the future of something... something in this case which could possibly have a very big future for everyone else.

    It made me laugh when somebody above posted "Second hand 950xl hardware is easy to find on eBay.". No shit it's easy to find. Another afterthought (Windows + mobiles = fail). Nobody wanted it, that's why!

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: Seems like an afterthought

      Didn't Apple buy those Dev Kits back so the users effectively had them at almost zero cost before the real M1 hardware came out?

      That shows a level of commitment that MS clearly lacks. 'No refunds...' shows lt all.

      If MS can't (or won't) do better than this do they honestly deserve any success?

      Answers on a pinhead please.

      1. andy 103

        Re: Seems like an afterthought

        @Steve Davies 3 In Apple’s case it seems to be that they understand why having a vested interest in developers making decent software for their platform is a good thing. They’re essentially subsidising developers on the basis it benefits Apple over the long term. I think that’s a smart move. Apple already knew the point and future of M1 before they decided to offer the developers kits. Microsoft are doing it backwards.

        On Microsoft’s part their equivalent to this is - we don’t give a shit if any developers even bother with Arm for our platform. If those developers really really care, they can buy this crap hardware out of their own pocket. And oh yeah it’s non refundable because we’re not really bothered about those people. We’re unsure what the future of any of this is so don’t want to go global, we’ll restrict this poor offering to the US market.

        It’ll be interesting to see the outcome but on this basis I think Apple may just do a lot better.

        1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

          Re: Seems like an afterthought

          Go back a generation and IBM did the same. The OS/2 SDK cost about $1000 but Microsoft gave away the Windows SDK free with cornflakes (or close enough). Guess which OS had lots of apps written for it. As I recall, at least one MS exec said clearly at the time that they knew what they were doing and they though IBM were insane -- something about "eating your seed-corn". Presumably that exec (and everyone else around at the time) is now long-departed from MS.

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: Seems like an afterthought

            >The OS/2 SDK cost about $1000 but Microsoft gave away the Windows SDK free

            Not only that, IBM made it impossible for mere mortals to get hold of the OS/2 SDK

            We couldn't get it at a certain fen based university research lab.

          2. Tim99 Silver badge

            Re: Seems like an afterthought

            Mini computer suppliers did the same thing. In the early 90s I was offered a microVAX by DEC at ~10% of list, to do some Oracle development - Sun offered me a Solaris workstation at ~70% of list; which probably reflected how they were doing in the market at the time. DEC wanted about A$3,000, Sun wanted about A$20,000 (so both listed at about A$30,000). I bought a 486 and went with R:Base/MS Access and Sybase, switching to SQL Server when it came out on NT. Later we went with PostgreSQL for *NIX stuff, but the market was pretty much all MS by then. What happened to Sun and DEC? I suspect that other first-line developers also noted the price differential, particularly after the bubble burst.

            A local joke at the time was "What's an optimist?" - "An Oracle developer who puts on two clean business shirts in a week"... (Its pretty hot here).

        2. NeilPost Silver badge

          Re: Seems like an afterthought

          If Microsoft had subsidised developers for the Window’s Mobile App Store the €5.4bn and further costs on Nokia Mobile acquisition - a mere 8 years ago still - would not have been money completely flushed down the toilet.

          No apps, a withered ecosystem and approaching zero sales at the death.

      2. doublelayer Silver badge

        Re: Seems like an afterthought

        "Didn't Apple buy those Dev Kits back so the users effectively had them at almost zero cost before the real M1 hardware came out?"

        No. Not that this makes Microsoft better, but in fact, they said the devs would have them for a year, asked for them back several months earlier than that, offered a credit that paid for a quarter of the cheapest M1 Mac available, and timed the credit so it was released after many devs already bought one and would expire before they bought another one. This made the devs who rented the transition devices quite grumpy. Source article.

        1. Tim99 Silver badge
          Gimp

          Re: Seems like an afterthought

          After the crap publicity, in February, Apple upped the credit note to $500 redeemable on any Apple product purchased before the end of the year MacRumors Link.

      3. Michael Strorm Silver badge

        Re: Seems like an afterthought

        "Answers on a pinhead please"

        Which type- Zippy or Hellraiser?

    2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Seems like an afterthought

      " (Windows + mobiles = fail)"

      I don't think that's actually been tried. A full-fat build of Windows would run existing apps, would support multiple users (and in doing so let parents or IT staff manage the phone while the target end-user only had limited access) and could be joined to a domain and administered by Group Policy if you were so minded. Properly marketed and supported, *that* would have been a serious threat to iOS or Android, with their single-user security models and vague promises of sandboxes.

      (Actually, since neither Apple nor Google seem to have any intention of ever building security into their phone OSes, Microsoft could still do this. Sadly they appear to lack the imagination.)

      1. sten2012 Bronze badge

        Re: Seems like an afterthought

        Android and iOS have far better baked in security than Windows. Not massively MS's fault because... "legacy".

        Isolated/sandboxed applications, strict permissions enforcement vs MS's "UAC isn't a security boundary approach".

        Are you specifically referring to MDM being mostly third party addons while GPO is available out of the box? Because I'm struggling to comprehend why anybody would make that comment at all

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

  3. blah@blag.com

    "Still, it's only a matter of time before somebody boots Linux on the thing"

    Made me lol

    1. Dave559 Silver badge

      Re: "Still, it's only a matter of time before somebody boots Linux on the thing"

      My first thought when reading the article was indeed "Hey, something like that could make a nifty Linux home server hobbyist box"; well, if Raspberry Pi probably didn't already have that niche mostly stitched up…

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: "Still, it's only a matter of time before somebody boots Linux on the thing"

        Why install Linux on this ? Because it's there !

    2. Inspector71
      Happy

      Re: "Still, it's only a matter of time before somebody boots Linux on the thing"

      Chances are NetBSD has beat Linux to it.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Forethought?

    This seems like a "don't forget about us" product of little use to most people.

    But I suspect it ties into three other Microsoft projects:

    M$ has announced the Surface Laptop SE for the education market. It's currently Intel because ARM doesn't work with OneDrive.

    M$ has announced a OneDrive on ARM development effort.

    M$ and ARM are working on a proprietary ARM chip optimized for Windows.

    That said, I have no idea where this is all going.

    1. Doug 3

      Re: Forethought?

      "M$ and ARM are working on a proprietary ARM chip optimized for Windows."

      Is this is why NVidia is trying to purchase ARM. ie maybe to flush it down the toilet for Microsoft and with Microsoft's funding behind it?

  5. elsergiovolador Silver badge

    Pointless

    The software that requires Windows (that I use) also happen to require quite a powerful machine. Anything that needs a calculator tier has an equivalent on Linux.

    Probably, as many Microsoft products, this will just be a system that let's you write Linux image onto a thumbstick.

    1. Kristian Walsh Silver badge

      Re: Pointless

      On the other hand, it’d be great if developers had more exposure to how their creations run on low-spec hardware. Shame might make them do something about typical use of system resources.

      ... it would probably be the end of anything based on Electron, though.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Available in Australia?

    Are they planning on selling it in Australia? If they are, the statement "There are no refunds available on this product." is illegal under Australian Consumer Law.

    https://www.accc.gov.au/consumers/consumer-rights-guarantees/repair-replace-refund#-no-refund-signs-and-expired-warranties

    1. Steve K

      Re: Available in Australia?

      It's not pitched as a consumer device....

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Available in Australia?

        Doesn't matter, it is still illegal to say no refunds on business products.

  7. trevorde Silver badge

    Windows on ARM Advantage

    Still more software than macOS

  8. Robert Grant

    RT?

    Windows on Arm has yet to set the world on fire, and developers would have been forgiven for wondering if Microsoft was about to tip the poor thing down the basement stairs to the dingy dungeon where the likes of Media Center, Zune, and Microsoft Bob lurk.

    Don't forget Windows RT, which was, of course, Windows on ARM 10 years ago.

  9. Jason Hindle

    Just buy a MacBook

    And test your software on Parallels hosted Windows? Windows on ARM is actually very nice given a sufficiently capable ARM based chip.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like